Soviet Recognition in Uzbekistan Planning

In Chapter 6, I found it interesting how Soviet influence and urban planning was rewarded and commemorated in Tashkent. Our discussion last class on Soviet monuments in Uzbekistan (as well as the larger Soviet Union) made me think more about how the Soviets explicitly interjected their culture and icons upon the other nations it governed through monuments and commemoration. Similar in thought, in Chapter 6 I noted the building of the Navoi Opera and Ballet Theater which was regarded as a great success in Soviet Uzbek urban planning (165). This building was magnificently built but allowed the Uzbeks to take great pride in its building because it was more representative of their culture and utilized Uzbek materials (165). It was a source of Uzbek cultural and ethnic pride. However, when commending the building of the theater, the Russian architects garnered the most recognition. The text states, “in analyzing who received the awards, one must recognize that Shchusev, the Russian architect who designed the building and oversaw its construction using Soviet technology, garnered the most praise, while his Uzbek counterparts were seen as craftsmen, skilled in handicrafts but not holding commanding positions as construction engineers or architects. The Soviet pecking order, with Russian technical experts above Uzbek handicraft laborers, is apparent again in the history of this prize-winning building” (168). Overall, I thought it was interesting and incredibly disappointing to almost belittle or view the work of Uzbeks as lesser, especially when the building was built in their country and meant to celebrate their culture. I was wondering the class’s thoughts on this and how it ties to our earlier discussion on Soviet monuments in Uzbekistan.  

One Reply to “Soviet Recognition in Uzbekistan Planning”

  1. This is a really interesting observation, considering that a building and a monument are such different pieces but can have a similar meaning. I think in regards to the opinions toward the building, it is almost unsurprising that the Soviet government would belittle it so much. No matter what the Uzbeks built, it would be considered less than what the Soviets could do. Even creating such a gorgeous piece of architecture would never measure up to the works of true-blooded Russian architects, which is unfortunate.

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